points. This is termed “Artificial Fashioning”, and by this procedure the stocking has different types of stitches, large, medium, and small, and to further the “fashioned” effect, small marks corresponding to the narrowings of the fashioned article are placed on each side of the leg seam. These, of course, are purely for the sake of appearance, and serve no other purpose whatsoever and contribute nothing to the shape of the stocking; they are simply “tuck” stitches. When the Seamless hose emerges from the machine—even although it has been subjected to this process of Artificial Fashioning—the necessary leg contour is given to it by the Finisher, in shape-moulding (called “Trimming” or “Boarding”.) (See “Eye-Catching Finish” Article also “Pre-boarding”)

It should not be overlooked that Seamless Stockings are an important factor in today’s sales volume over the retail counter.


These stockings are manufactured on “Flat” or “Cotton” machines. This machine is named after its inventor, William Cotton, of Loughborough, Leicestershire. England, who brought out his machine in the year 1864. The “Cotton” machines are sometimes termed “Straight-bar Knitting Machines”, and hose made on these machines emerge (fully-fashioned or “tailored” to shape) as a flat piece of material, and a joining seam is, therefore, required. These machines predetermine the shaping of the leg by decreasing or increasing at the necessary points the number of stitches used—the width of the stitches remains always the same. The decreasing of the stitches is achieved by the so-called “Narrowings”, recognisable by small marks right and left of the stocking seam—this seam sews together the parts of the hose, the stocking—as previously stated—having been made flat.

One important point of difference between the Fully-Fashioned and Seamless machines for the making of stockings is the needle employed. The needle forms the foundation or basis for the stocking fabric.

In the Fully-Fashioned (Straight-Bar) machines, needles known as “spring-beard” needles are used, while nearly all the Seamless (Circular) machines use latch needles. (There are a



We have seen that stockings are divided into two classes—Seamless and Fully-Fashioned; the respective characteristics of these are set out below.


These are sometimes referred to as “Circular-Knit” Stockings, because they are manufactured on “round” machines, that is to say, the needles are arranged around a circular cylinder. The majority of these machines turn out hose without a seam at the back, and in this case, the seam known as a “mock-seam” is added by a machine after manufacture, although the latest type of circular knitting-machine can knit in a seam during the making of the stocking, if desired. Although stockings made on seamless machines are called “Seamless” Hose, this is, therefore, inclined to be a misnomer when a seam is added according to prevailing fashion, but the term “Seamless” was given to this type of hosiery in order to differentiate from the fashioned article, which is made flat, and is afterwards put together by a seam. The hose made on Seamless machines are in the form of a tube (due to the cylindrical arrangement of the needles) and the legs have an unvarying number of stitches down their entire length, so that no increase or decrease of the number of stitches to achieve leg-shape, is permissible.

The thigh, leg, ankle and foot of a Seamless Hose have the same number of needles as there are needles in the machine, according to what is referred to as the “needle count” (or the number of needles in the cylinder diameter) consequently, the shape of the stocking cannot be achieved by an increased or decreased number of stitches to correspond to leg shape.

It is possible to make the stitches larger in extent (although always the same in number) by having the needles draw longer knitted loops for the thigh part of the leg (this is called “Slackening the Fabric”) and the reverse process ("Stiffening the Fabric”) is applied for the graduated, smaller stitches required at the narrower